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Frantisek Xaver Dusek

born: 1731-12-08
died: 1799-02-12
birthplace: Choteborky u Jaromere
diedplace: Praha

also Franz Xaver Dussek or Duschek, Czech composer and one of the most significant harp and piano player of his times. Also known as the host of W.A.Mozart in Prague.
His parents (father Vaclav, mother Dorota, née Sobotkova) were vassals of Earl Jan Karel Spork. He got the basic musical education from the village school-master Ulik. Earl Spork noticed the boy's talent and allowed him to study the jesuit college in Hradec Kralove. He sturied music and was getting prepared to the career of a priest. After a severe injury he left the college but supported by the earl, he was able to devote himself to music. He left to Prague to study composition and organ play with Frantisek Haberman. He finished his studies in Vienna with the court composer Georg Christoph Wagenseil, being a member of several curch orchestras at the same time. By Wagenseil he also met W.A.Mozart for the first time. In 1770 he came back to Prague and devoted himself to teaching. He was a founder of the first piano school in Prague. His students were not only prominent aristocrats living in Prague but also outstanding professional musicians, e.g. Leopold Kozeluh, Vincenc Masek, J.N. Vitasek and also his future wife, singer Josefina Hambacher, whom he married in 1776. They both gained the reputation of magnificent hosts; they ran musical parties in their house (most of oll in the summer-house Bertramka) where they invited young beginning artists as well as famous musicians on their visits to Prague. In 1777 Dusek spouses visited their relatives in Salzburg and met W.A.Mozart again. Since that time they maintained close personal and musical contacts. In their house Bertramka Mozart compsed the main part of Don Giovanni (first released in Prague 28th October 1787) and celebratory opera La clemenza di Tito, dedicated to the coronation of Leopold the Emperor.
Dusek was an outstanding harpsichord and piano player. He got high reputation for his interpretation of J.S.Bach and K.P.E.Bach. His compositions are in elegant Mozart-like style. Though it was definitely no turning point in the musical evolution, it satisfied both listeners and musicians. In many of the compositions, the sense of Czech origin is present and a romantic touch precedes the piano works of Vaclaf Jan Tomasek. Dusek worked together with the court orchestras of Earl Pachta and Earl Clam-Gallas; a lot of his compositions can be found in their archives. The character of some of the piano works is instructive. His compositions were printed in Prague, Amsterdam, Vienna and Linz.

Note: the portrait of F.X.Dusek on Wikipedia belongs in fact to Jan Ladislav Dusik (an easy mistake because abroad, they both used the name Dussek). Authors of this article are not aware of any reliable portrait of F.X.Dusek preserved till today.

  • 37 symfonies
  • 36 wind sextets
  • 26 string quartets
  • about 23 string trios
  • 16 piano sonatas
  • 6 piano trios
  • several serenades
  • songs, arias and other small compositions


Mala encyklopedie hudby (book by dr. Jar. Smolka; &kolektiv, Supraphon 1983)


Sonata E Flat Major (MP3) (Tony & Marry Ann Lenti-piano, Forgotten Piano Duets Vol. 2, ACA Digital Recording 2006)


Last update 2015-11-15